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Chilliwack Peewee A1 Bruins Claim Jamboree Title

By Clarke Wismer on January 07, 2016

The Chilliwack Peewee A1 Bruins became only the ninth host team in the tournament's 57-year history to claim the title. ( Photo from chilliwackminorhockey.com)     

The Chilliwack Minor Hockey Association hosted the 57th annual Peewee Jamboree over the Christmas Break. 

The Jamboree has been the marquee tournament for the association since the early 1960’s, where it was once one of the only tournaments of its calibre in BC.  Many tournaments have since come and gone over the past 57 years and the Chilliwack Jamboree still continues to roll along. 

The 2015 edition included just under 40 teams competing in four divisions: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze.  This year teams travelled from all over BC and the USA to compete for the title.  

“This tournament is very unique in Chilliwack,” stated Pee Wee A1 head coach Jason Hay, “We have players who’s fathers and even grandfathers have participated in the Jamboree.  It really brings the Chilliwack hockey community together across many generations.”  

The tournament also helped to bring the Pee Wee A1 team together on the ice.  The team was struggling to score goals leading up to the Jamboree, resulting in quite a few low scoring losses prior to the event. 

Coach Hay had the Jamboree marked on his calendar right from the beginning of the year as the marquee event for the team this season.  He also had a few tricks up his sleeve to help motivate the players for their host tournament.  Unknown to the players, the coaching staff  – with the help of a few parents and local businesses – raised sponsorship money for the team with the intent of purchasing a commemorative third jersey that would be revealed prior to the first game.

The team was also given the opportunity to use the Chilliwack Chiefs dressing room for their opening game. 

“It was really cool,” said second year forward Ryder O’Brien. “We thought we were just using the Chiefs’ room, then when we walked in we all had custom made jerseys hanging in the stall with our names on them.” 

The coaches’ plan appeared to work.  The team went out in their first game versus Victoria Racquet Club and played a very tight defensive game opening the tournament with a 2-0 victory. Brayden Melnyk stopped all 24 shots he faced for the shut out. 

Their second game of the day was against Powell River. Cole Mayes backstopped the Bruins to their second win, a 4-1 victory. Landen Gourlie provided all the offence the team would need with a hat trick in the game and Clay Kurtz chipped in three assists. 

The Bruins kept rolling along on day two with a dominant 7-2 victory over Nanaimo.  K.C. Cosgrove, Carter Anderson, Luke Wismer, Finn Longhurst, Kurtz and Owen Hopcott with two goals provided the offence. 

“The Nanaimo game was key turning point for us, we have struggled to score goals of late and this was a real confidence boost for the team” said Hay.

The team went into their final round robin game versus Campbell River on a roll.  The third jerseys were proving to be the lucky charm.  With first place on the line, the Bruins skated to a convincing 7-1 victory. 

Lucas Bourdon, Christian Clease, Wismer, Hopcott, Longhurst, Kurtz and O’Brien all contributed goals, while Mitchell Metcalfe and Derek Priest added two assists each.  Second-year forward Lyndon Schroeder was a force both in the faceoff circle and on the rush.

“Having all three lines contributing, as well as our defense really boosted the team’s confidence,” added assistant coach Bryan Gourlie.

The A1 team was now set for the playoff round with a cross border battle against Orange County of Anaheim, California.  Orange County had been moved up from the Gold division after dominating their round robin with three wins while allowing no goals against. 

In their second consecutive year playing in the Jamboree, the Orange County team was poised for the upset.  The Bruins, however, continued their high-scoring ways, winning the game 6-1.  Bourdon, Hopcott, Kurtz, Cosgrove, Gourlie and Greye Rampton contribute goals for the home team. 

Next up in the semifinal was a rematch with Victoria Racquet Club.  The game was a seesaw affair with VRC taking an early lead and the Bruins fighting back.  In the end the home team came away with a 5-4 nail biting victory.  Dylan Brooks, Hopcott, Bourdon and Kurtz (2) helped the Bruins to the win.

This set up a showdown with the also undefeated Seattle Admirals in the 57th Jamboree Championship final.  The community was out in full force for the final game with Twin Rinks bulging full of spectators. 

The Admirals jumped out to an early lead and extended that lead to 3-1 by the second period. 

“They had a dominant player that scored all three of their goals, so we had to neutralize him,” said coach Hay.  “We put our fastest skater Clease on him for the rest of the game and it really turned the tables.” 

The team rallied back with three unanswered goals, the game winner coming with less than 30 seconds left in the game.  Gourlie and Brooks scored the early goals, while first-year forward Owen Hopcott scored two in the third period, the game-tying goal short-handed, and the eventual game winning power play goal. 

It was a fitting end to an outstanding tournament.  The organizers of the event, all volunteers, really did an amazing job putting on a world-class event.  The 2015 Chilliwack PeeWee A1 Bruins became the first Chilliwack team to win the Platinum division title since 2004, and only the ninth host team to ever win the Jamboree in its 57-year history.

Perhaps it was the jerseys, maybe it was the community support, either way it’s a memory these 17 boys from Chilliwack will hopefully be able to tell their kids and even grandkids when they are back for future Chilliwack peewee Jamborees. 

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January 07, 2016
Categories:  Minor Hockey|Rink Report

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